How’s That $148,000 Law Degree Working Out for You

A quick chat with a new lawyer.
Sam, you are a lawyer.
I am. I graduated from law school a year ago. Passed the bar. I’m all barred up.

Why’d you go to law school?
Unlimited power.

But really.
Because I want to make a difference and help people and this is one way to do that.

How much did you spend to go to law school?

Hahha that’s so much money.
Yes. Yes it is.

Are you paying back your loans yet?
I pay $300/month on my income based repayment plan, but with my looming unemployment it could switch to income contingent repayment plan.

Did you get fired?
No I’ve been doing a yearlong fellowship that is ending.

So what’s next?
I’ve been living in New York, and now I’m going to move back to my home state and try to work in policy.

Are you worried about finding a job?
Not really. I know a lot of people where I’m moving, a lot of lawyers.

It’s how it works.

So far what’s the best part about being a lawyer?
In a way you really don’t have to do a lot of work, but you get to sit in a nice office.

What’s the worst?
Every goddamn family member and friend calling and saying, Sam, is this the law? Can I do this? And I’m like, I don’t know, there’s like a million laws. Give me two days and some money and I can figure it out.

Michael Johnson called me and asked how his parents could share custody of his little sister, and I was like, I don’t know Michael Johnson, I could look it up, but so could you.

Was going to law school worth it?
Having just graduated last May, I simply lack the experience necessary to give any sort of reasonable or respectable answer to your question. Really, I can just answer based on the views of the nine older attorneys that told me what they thought.

And what did they tell you?
That it was a great decision. For personal advancement. And because you’ll always have a job. Because you can always hang up your own shingle if you have to.

What do you mean?
Hang up your own shingle? Put a sign in your yard: Sam Jones, Attorney At Law.

I suspect going to law school will turn out great, but even if it doesn’t, that will be fine, since life is meaningless.

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